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Dentists to exchange Halloween candy for cash
candy buy back
Both the Dental Spa and Turlock Dental Care will be buying donated Halloween candy from kids and sending it to U.S. troops overseas through Operation Gratitude. - photo by Photo Contributed

Trick-or-treaters who would rather get money than cavities from their Halloween candy this year will not only have the opportunity to sell their candy to two dental offices during candy buy-back events, but also help out troops overseas.

During its 7th Annual Halloween Candy Give Back, Dental Spa will pay children $.50 for each pound of candy donated and all candy will be sent to troops overseas through Operation Gratitude. Participating children will also be entered to win a new bike.

“I saw what Operation Gratitude does and thought it was ingenious,” said Dental Spa office manager Anokeen Varani. “This is something we totally wanted to be a part of and we started right away.”

Over the past six years, Dental Spa has received over 500 pounds of candy during their annual event. Varani said that although Dental Spa’s goal this year to collect another 500 pounds of candy is “almost unattainable,” she still hopes the community will rally around the dental office to achieve it.

“We are a small community and this is a great program where you give back to the greater community: our country,” said Varani. “This is for the veterans out there fighting for us. It unites our community in so many ways.”

Varani said that the reason Dental Spa started the Annual Halloween Candy Give Back seven years ago is because she and her husband both lived in New York during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“It was traumatic. We lived half a mile away from where it happened,” said Varani. “My husband and I vowed that when we finish school and move back to California—no matter where we lived—we would find a way to give back to the community.”

Dental Spa’s 7th Annual Halloween Candy Give Back is scheduled during business hours from Monday through Nov. 12 at 527 E. Olive Ave. For more information, visit or call 667-8874.

Turlock Dental Care will also pay trick-or-treaters $1 for each pound of candy donated during its one-day Halloween Candy-Buy Back event. Similar to Dental Spa, the dental office will send all of the candy it collects to Operation Gratitude “for soldiers to share and enjoy.”

“We want to encourage kids to not eat all of the candy that they collect that night, it’s not good for their teeth,” said Patient Coordinator Kathryn McCulla. “Plus, we are donating the candy to Operation Gratitude and they send it to troops who are overseas.

“They can then share it with kids over there and build relationships, it’s all for a good cause,” continued McCulla.

McCulla said that she hopes that this event will give people an opportunity to think about other people outside of the community and their dental health by sharing their candy.

“They collect mass quantities on that one night, so it’s better for their health to not have so much,” said McCulla. “It’s better for their teeth and their health overall.”

Turlock Dental Care will host its Halloween Candy Buy-Back event from noon  to 6 p.m. Monday at 990 Delbon Ave. For more information, call 668-0720.